Despite Challenges, A Promising Start to the Academic Year
I would like to thank everyone for their support, patience and dedication during these difficult times. Despite challenging circumstances and some unavoidable problems, I am proud to say that the fall 2020 semester at Stevens has gotten off to a strong start. Faculty and staff across the university worked hard to develop a safe and fulfilling academic experience, and their commitment has enabled us to continue serving our students and carrying out important research.
I am also pleased that beyond the classroom — and the virtual classroom — we have been able to offer a full array of academic support services, both online and in person. And we are providing opportunities for members of the Stevens community to engage with each other through virtual academic and social events throughout the semester.
Students, I hope that you will fully participate in these opportunities, and many others, to connect with your classmates and professors.
We all look forward to the day that life on campus can return to normal, but in the meantime, Stevens is not standing still; there are many indications that our university is continuing its upward trajectory.
- The largest construction project in Stevens history, the Student Housing and University Center, continues, and rapid progress is being made toward a planned fall 2022 opening.
- We welcomed 20 new faculty members across all three of our schools and the College of Arts and Letters, underscoring our continued commitment to growing and strengthening our contingent of excellent faculty at the core of the university.
- We ended fiscal year 2020 with Stevens research awards reaching more than $46 million and research expenditures reaching over $38 million — both figures are records.
- We have made significant investments over the summer in online and hybrid teaching, from smart technology in the classrooms to enhanced software and materials for our hands-on courses, and countless training sessions for instructors; Stevens is prepared to provide our world-class education in any modality.
- Enrollment in StevensOnline programs has reached record levels this semester, topping 525 total students, and nearly doubling the number of new students for this fall as compared to a year earlier. This is a testament to our longstanding leadership in virtual education, which has left us well positioned for the needs of students during the pandemic.
- Announced in late June, Stevens partnered with Noodle Partners to enhance and grow our existing online Master of Science in Computer Science and launch a new online Master of Science in Data Science. Students will begin study in these two programs in January 2021.
- Just last week, we announced an innovative 3+2 dual-degree program in partnership with Seton Hall University. I expect this to be the first of many collaborations between our two elite New Jersey institutions.
- We are moving forward and making strong progress toward the launch of Workday Student, the university’s new student information system. Workday Student is a comprehensive, mobile-friendly student information system that will connect students, faculty and staff, streamlining and automating processes that are now spread among several outdated legacy systems. The launch is scheduled for March 2021.
These and other developments will ensure that Stevens emerges from this trying period stronger than before.
Finally, as President Nariman Farvardin informed you recently, I have decided to step down as provost at the end of my five-year term, which will conclude on August 31, 2021. I am proud of the progress Stevens has made during my term as chief academic officer, and I thank the entire university community for their commitment to excellence.
I look forward to remaining with you as a member of the Stevens faculty and resuming my work as a professor of mechanical engineering. But until then, I assure you that I will be pressing ahead with the mission I undertook when I arrived here over four years ago.
And most importantly, I look forward to the day when we can all celebrate our return to campus.
All the best for continued success this semester.